10 Important Things You Want Your Mom To Remember When You Move Abroad
You know what one of my favorite scenes in The Lizzie McGuire Movie is? No, not the end where Hilary Duff sings with Hilary Duff (although that is awesome). It’s the one at the airport where Lizzie’s saying goodbye to her family and she rolls her eyes and is like all, “OK, mom, I have to go now” (ahh, teenagers) and she walks away. But then she looks back at her mom, who is obviously bawling by this point, and Lizzie tears up and runs back to her for a hug. Sure, she ends up having a super fun time in Rome and becomes an Italian pop star and wears a cool igloo outfit, but think of what her mom must’ve been going through the whole time Lizzie was running around having fun (and totally ignoring all of her mom’s advice and warnings). At the risk of sounding like a total buzzkill, I imagine Mrs. McGuire was worried sick.
There are a lot of reasons why I’d never want to be a mom, one of the main ones being that I would be absolutely petrified that something was going to happen to my child if they ever decided to move to another country. Moving to another city would be difficult enough, but an entirely new country? That’d be too much. And yet, if I were a good mom, I’d love them enough to put their happiness over my fears, wouldn’t I? I think so, and I’m confident of it when I see all my friends who have moved abroad for college or a study abroad semester or a job with the unwavering support of their mothers. Our mothers have had our backs since day one, and they'll continue to do so across international seas and borders.
This is for all the moms who are proud that their babies (who suddenly aren't babies anymore) are pursuing dreams and careers across the globe, all the while making sure they know where their passport is and keeping their phone right beside their pillow when they go to bed every night. We know you’ll never stop worrying (after all, it’s a big part of your job), but hopefully these reminders will reassure you that we will be OK:
I Know What To Do When I Get Sick
I know one of your worst fears is that I’ll get sick. I know it won’t matter if it’s just a cold or if I’m in the ER (which, hopefully, will never be the case); if I text or casually mention to you that I don’t feel so well, you’ll be convinced that you’re going to have to book the next flight here because I’m going to die. But I promise that if and when I feel ill, I will take the proper meds (or more likely ask you what the proper meds are), or I will get it checked out. My stuffy nose will not land me in the hospital. I promise (kinda).
I Can And Will Feed Myself
No, I can't cook as amazingly as you do, and more often than not I’ll get lazy and just throw a frozen dinner in the microwave, but here’s the thing though — I actually hate microwave dinners. And that means that at some point, I will cave and make a fresh and healthy meal. Honestly, even my body eventually gets disgusted by food that expires in three years. Admittedly, I’ll be experimenting A LOT with ramen and bread and like two vegetables, but I’ll be full and happy (probably not because my ramen-bread concoction was fantastic, but because I didn't burn down the kitchen and/or poison myself, but still).
I Think Of You Every Day (Even If I Don't Show It)
Even on the days where I don’t Skype you or just text “Busy day today” and nothing else, I’ll still be thinking about you. I’m probably telling my friends about “This one time that my mom…,” or I’m making a mental note to take you to this great new café that I had lunch at. I’m sorry for the days that I make you feel ignored, but I think about you as often as I think about Taylor Swift or cake.
I Also Cry On Our First Night Apart
I know, right? After all the eyerolls and basically shoving you into the taxi, who would’ve thunk? And though there’ll be that initial independence-infused euphoria while go out with my new friends and explore the city, you know what? At the end of the day I’ll come home to my new place, and change into my pajamas that you bought for me, and crawl under the blanket that we picked out together, and it’ll hit me that this is it. Maybe it’ll be just a few tears or maybe it’ll be full-on bawling while listening to T-Swift’s “Never Grow Up,” but either way, I’ll be sad that it’s the first night of many nights that I won’t be able to crawl into bed beside you for a cuddle.
Home Will Always Be Home
I’ll probably refer to my new place as home once I’ve settled in, but it’s not really. There's a plethora of sayings out there about home being people and memories and not an actual place, and as cheesy as they are, they’re all true. And as long as you’re living at home — and I mean the home where we shared so many birthdays and where you thanklessly woke us up for school five mornings a week despite the glares and hatred you received from us — that is my home. New places are shiny and exciting, but that’s not what homes are. Don’t worry — the home you made for me will never be replaced.
You Can Call/Text Me Any Time For Any Reason
This was always the first and last thing you told me right before you dropped me off for a field trip or at a sleepover or at the mall, and I know you’ll say it again at the airport. I want to remind you that it goes both ways. Even if it’s just to vent about how crappy your day was or because you want to tell me about this awesome new TV show, feel free to call/text me. I like knowing the things that I’m too far away to find out on my own. Call me if you need to, even if it’s 3 a.m.
I Will Keep My Place Clean (To The Best Of My Abilities)
I'll take care of my laundry every week, do the dishes every night, and vacuum my room as often as I can bring myself to do so. Believe it or not, the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve come to realize the importance and beauty of cleanliness. Rewearing old clothes and not changing my sheets for months isn’t funny or grungey-cool anymore; it’s just really, really gross. I know I'll never live up to your expectations of an utterly spotless place, but I won’t be living in a 14-year-old gamer boy’s bedroom. Any cockroaches that appear will be a fluke and will be dealt with quickly and correctly.
I'm Scared Too
A new country is exciting, but I would be lying (and you would know because, well, you’re mom) if I said I wasn’t scared at all. Because the truth is that I’m terrified, just like you. OK, maybe I’m not worried that I’ll get kidnapped one night on my way home by some freak that belongs in an episode of Criminal Minds, but I’m still scared that I’ll get lost and be late for my first day. I’ll dread the first time I have to go to the post office and mail something, and I’ll have absolutely no idea what to do if I ever have to go to the hospital. It’s a new land of firsts, and I know I’ll figure it out over time, but it’s those firsts that are the scariest, even if all I'm telling you right now is that I'm very very very excited.
I Already Miss You And Can't Wait Until I See You Again
This is going to be such an adventure and I know I'll have so many new stories to tell, but don’t ever think that I don’t miss you. I will miss you on my best days and I will miss you even more on my worst ones. I'll miss your scent and your hugs and I might or might not have a little countdown on my phone for the day I fly home or the day you fly here. I can’t wait to see you at the Arrivals Gate, whatever country it may be in.
I Love You
And of course, the most obvious and important one — I love you, I love you, I love you. I imagine it must feel like you’re being punished for raising me to be independent and motivated, and I thank you for being selfless enough to help me do whatever it is that I want to do, even if it means my moving continents away. You’re convinced that you love me more than I love you; that’s probably true, but just barely.